Tuesday , September 26 2023

Ministries say booster shot for populace should be criterion to allow foreign tourists

Provinces and cities that have given their populations Covid-19 booster shots should be allowed to let in international tourists, several ministries have said.

At a meeting held Monday to discuss plans to reopen to international tourists, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Doan Van Viet said some localities have admitted international tourists on a trial basis and the results give cause for optimism.

Since November Vietnam has received around 8,500 foreign tourists, mainly from Russia, South Korea, Singapore, the U.K., and the U.S., he said.

“Basically, the ministry would continue with its plan to normalize tourism activities by Reunification Day (April 30). If things go well, we can open up even earlier.”

Agreeing with him, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son said authorities need to coordinate their actions to bring the pandemic under control, especially when it comes to international tourism.

His ministry has already issued regulations and procedures for vaccine passports, but awaits cooperation from other ministries, he said.

“Besides carrying vaccine passports, foreign tourists also need to be tested. They should also stay for a while at their first destination, and have predetermined itineraries.”

Delegates at the meeting also said the health ministry needs to issue new guidance on local coronavirus risk levels so that appropriate measures could be taken to resume tourism activities, and protocols for testing fully vaccinated foreign visitors.

Tourists should be allowed to travel to destinations with acceptable coronavirus risk levels, some said.

Travel agencies serving international visitors could adjust itineraries and destinations but must keep authorities informed about them, and tourists should be allowed to stay in Vietnam for longer than just the one week they are currently allowed, they said.

Several ministries called for operating flights to repatriate Vietnamese and vaccinating those who have not been vaccinated.

Authorities began a trial program to allow in foreign visitors last November, starting with 29 tourists arriving in Hoi An.

Thus far seven localities have been allowed to receive foreign tourists: Kien Giang, Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam, Quang Ninh, and Binh Dinh provinces and Phu Quoc, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City.

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